Amram, David

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AMRAM, DAVID (1930– ), French horn player, pianist, composer. A man of many parts, the Philadelphia-born Amram has written and performed in almost every conceivable musical context. He studied composition at Oberlin College, then did his U.S. Army service as part of the Seventh Army Symphony, where he played with Sonny Rollins and Charles Mingus. Upon leaving the army he stayed on in Paris briefly, where he led a jazz quintet, which recorded there. The mix of jazz and classical runs through his entire career, as might be expected from a French horn player who jammed with Dizzy Gillespie, among others. He scored and appeared in the famous underground film Pull My Daisy, then film director John Frankenheimer brought him to Hollywood to score All Fall Down (1961); his stay was relatively brief but did result in the memorable soundtrack to Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (1962), one of the most successful jazz-influenced scores of the period, and two excellent scores for Elia Kazan, Splendor in the Grass (1962) and The Arrangment (1969). Amram is a prolific composer with over 100 orchestral and chamber works and two operas to his credit, including the Holocaust-themed tv opera The Final Ingredient (1965), Native American Portraits (1976), and Symphony: Songs of the Soul (1986–87). His compositions draw tellingly on Native American, Latin jazz, Middle Eastern, and other folkloric influences. Vibrations, an autobiography, was published in 1968.


"David Amram," in: Music Web Encyclopaedia of Popular Music, at; B. Priestly, "David Amram," in: Jazz: The Rough Guide (1995).

[George Robinson (2nd ed.)]

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